Growth hormone (GH) inhibits fat accumulation and promotes protein accretion, therefore the fall in GH observed with weight gain and normal aging may contribute to metabolic dysfunction. To directly test this hypothesis a novel mouse model of adult onset-isolated GH deficiency (AOiGHD) was generated by cross breeding rat GH promoter-driven Cre recombinase mice (Cre) with inducible diphtheria toxin receptor mice (iDTR) and treating adult Cre+/−,iDTR+/− offspring with DT to selectively destroy the somatotrope population of the anterior pituitary gland, leading to a reduction in circulating GH and IGF-I levels. DT-treated Cre−/−,iDTR+/− mice were used as GH-intact controls. AOiGHD improved whole body insulin sensitivity in both low-fat and high-fat fed mice. Consistent with improved insulin sensitivity, indirect calorimetry revealed AOiGHD mice preferentially utilized carbohydrates for energy metabolism, as compared to GH-intact controls. In high-fat, but not low-fat fed AOiGHD mice, fat mass increased, hepatic lipids decreased and glucose clearance and insulin output were impaired. These results suggest the age-related decline in GH helps to preserve systemic insulin sensitivity, and in the context of moderate caloric intake, prevents the deterioration in metabolic function. However, in the context of excess caloric intake, low GH leads to impaired insulin output, and thereby could contribute to the development of diabetes.
Mutations that decrease insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and growth hormone signaling limit body size and prolong lifespan in mice. In vertebrates, these somatotropic hormones are controlled by the neuroendocrine brain. Hormone-like regulations discovered in nematodes and flies suggest that IGF signals in the nervous system can determine lifespan, but it is unknown whether this applies to higher organisms. Using conditional mutagenesis in the mouse, we show that brain IGF receptors (IGF-1R) efficiently regulate somatotropic development. Partial inactivation of IGF-1R in the embryonic brain selectively inhibited GH and IGF-I pathways after birth. This caused growth retardation, smaller adult size, and metabolic alterations, and led to delayed mortality and longer mean lifespan. Thus, early changes in neuroendocrine development can durably modify the life trajectory in mammals. The underlying mechanism appears to be an adaptive plasticity of somatotropic functions allowing individuals to decelerate growth and preserve resources, and thereby improve fitness in challenging environments. Our results also suggest that tonic somatotropic signaling entails the risk of shortened lifespan.
Using a mouse model relevant for humans, we showed that lifespan can be significantly extended by reducing the signaling selectively of a protein called IGF-I in the central nervous system. This effect occurred through changes in specific neuroendocrine pathways. Dissecting the pathophysiological mechanism, we discovered that IGF receptors in the mammalian brain efficiently steered the development of the somatotropic axis, which in turn affected the individual growth trajectory and lifespan. Our work confirms experimentally that continuously low IGF-I and low growth hormone levels favor extended lifespan and postpone age-related mortality. Together with other recent reports, our results further challenge the view that administration of GH can prevent, or even counteract human aging. This knowledge is important since growth hormone is often prescribed to elderly people in an attempt to compensate the unwanted effects of aging. Growth hormone and IGF-I are also substances frequently used for doping in sports.
Inactivating IGF receptors in the brain decreased growth hormone and IGF-I, and increased lifespan in healthy mice. Such neuroendocrine longevity could be a physiological response to environment.
Extensive studies in model organisms in the last few decades have revealed that aging is subject to profound genetic influence. The conserved nutrient sensing TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) pathway is emerging as a key regulator of lifespan and healthspan in various species from yeast to mammals. The TOR signaling pathway plays a critical role in determining how an eukaryotic cell or a cellular system co-ordinates its growth, development and aging in response to constant changes in its surrounding environment? TOR integrates signals originating from changes in growth factors, nutrient availability, energy status and various physiological stresses. Each of these inputs is specialized to sense particular signal(s), and conveys it to the TOR complex which in turn relays the signal to downstream outputs to appropriately respond to the environmental changes. These outputs include mRNA translation, autophagy, transcription, metabolism, cell survival, proliferation and growth amongst a number of other cellular processes, some of which influence organismal lifespan. Here we review the contribution of the model organism Drosophila in the understanding of TOR signaling and the various biological processes it modulates that may impact on aging. Drosophila was the first organism where the nutrient dependent effects of the TOR pathway on lifespan were first uncovered. We also discuss how the nutrient-sensing TOR pathway appears to be critically important for mediating the longevity effects of dietary restriction (DR), a potent environmental method of lifespan extension by nutrient limitation. Identifying the molecular mechanisms that modulate lifespan downstream of TOR is being intensely investigated and there is hope that these are likely to serve as a potential targets for amelioration of age–related diseases and enhance healthful lifespan extension in humans.
Dietary restriction; aging; caloric restriction; nutrients; lifespan; TOR; rapamycin; Drosophila
The genes that are part of the somatotropic axis play a crucial role in the regulation of growth and development of chickens. The identification of genetic polymorphisms in these genes will enable the scientist to evaluate the biological relevance of such polymorphisms and to gain a better understanding of quantitative traits like growth. In the present study, 75 pairs of primers were designed and four chicken breeds, significantly differing in growth and reproduction characteristics, were used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) using the denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) technology. A total of 283 SNP were discovered in 31 897 base pairs (bp) from 12 genes of the growth hormone (GH), growth hormone receptor (GHR), ghrelin, growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), insulin-like growth factor I and II (IGF-I and -II), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), insulin, leptin receptor (LEPR), pituitary-specific transcription factor-1 (PIT-1), somatostatin (SS), thyroid-stimulating hormone beta subunit (TSH-β). The observed average distances in bp between the SNP in the 5'UTR, coding regions (non- and synonymous), introns and 3'UTR were 172, 151 (473 and 222), 89 and 141 respectively. Fifteen non-synonymous SNP altered the translated precursors or mature proteins of GH, GHR, ghrelin, IGFBP-2, PIT-1 and SS. Fifteen indels of no less than 2 bps and 2 poly (A) polymorphisms were also observed in 9 genes. Fifty-nine PCR-RFLP markers were found in 11 genes. The SNP discovered in this study provided suitable markers for association studies of candidate genes for growth related traits in chickens.
chickens; genes; SNP; DHPLC
The central nervous melanocortin system is a neural network linking nutrient-sensing systems with hypothalamic, limbic and hindbrain neurons regulating behavior and metabolic homeostasis. Primary melanocortin neurons releasing melanocortin receptor ligands residing in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus are regulated by nutrient-sensing and metabolic signals. A smaller group of primary neurons releasing melanocortin agonists in the nucleus tractus solitarius in the brainstem are also regulated by signals of metabolic state. Two melanocortin receptors regulate energy homeostasis. Melanocortin-4 receptors regulate satiety and autonomic outputs controlling peripheral metabolism. The functions of melanocortin-3 receptors (MC3R) expressed in hypothalamic and limbic structures are less clear. Here we discuss published data and preliminary observations from our laboratory suggesting that neural MC3R regulate inputs into systems governing the synchronization of rhythms in behavioral and metabolism with nutrient intake. Mice subjected to a restricted feeding protocol, where a limited number of calories are presented at a 24 h interval, rapidly exhibit bouts of increased wakefulness and activity which anticipate food presentation. The full expression of these responses is dependent on MC3R. Moreover, MC3R knockout mice are unique in exhibiting a dissociation of weight loss from improved glucose homeostasis when subject to a restricted feeding protocol. While mice lacking MC3R fed ad libitum exhibit normal to moderate hyperinsulinemia, when subjected to a restricted protocol they develop hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia. Collectively, our data suggest that the central nervous melanocortin system is a point convergence in the control of energy balance and the expression of rhythms anticipating nutrient intake.
The paper represents an invited review by a symposium, award winner or keynote speaker at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior [SSIB] Annual Meeting in Pittsburg, July 2010.
Circadian rhythm; anticipation; food anticipatory activity; satiety; homeostasis; clock; melanocortin; hypothalamus
Longevity of mice can be increased by spontaneous or experimentally induced mutations that interfere with the biosynthesis or actions of growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), or insulin in the adipose tissue. The effects of GH resistance and deficiency of GH (along with thyrotropin and prolactin) on aging and lifespan are the most pronounced and best established of these mutations. Potential mechanisms linking these endocrine deficits with delayed aging and extended longevity include increased stress resistance, alterations in insulin and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and metabolic adjustments.
Physiological relationships deduced from the extreme phenotypes of long-lived mouse mutants appear to apply broadly, encompassing genetically normal (“wild-type”) mice and other mammalian species. The role of GH in the control of human aging continues to be hotly debated, but recent data indicate that reduced somatotropic signaling provides protection from cancer and other age-related diseases and may promote old age survival.
longevity; cancer; insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1); dwarf mice
Cellular metabolism influences life and death decisions. An emerging theme in cancer biology is that metabolic regulation is intricately linked to cancer progression. In part, this is due to the fact that proliferation is tightly regulated by availability of nutrients. Mitogenic signals promote nutrient uptake and synthesis of DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids. Therefore, it seems straight-forward that oncogenes, that often promote proliferation, also promote metabolic changes. In this review we summarize our current understanding of how ‘metabolic transformation' is linked to oncogenic transformation, and why inhibition of metabolism may prove a cancer′s ‘Achilles' heel'. On one hand, mutation of metabolic enzymes and metabolic stress sensors confers synthetic lethality with inhibitors of metabolism. On the other hand, hyperactivation of oncogenic pathways makes tumors more susceptible to metabolic inhibition. Conversely, an adequate nutrient supply and active metabolism regulates Bcl-2 family proteins and inhibits susceptibility to apoptosis. Here, we provide an overview of the metabolic pathways that represent anti-cancer targets and the cell death pathways engaged by metabolic inhibitors. Additionally, we will detail the similarities between metabolism of cancer cells and metabolism of proliferating cells.
cancer; cell metabolism; glucose; oncogenes
Our previous studies showed that ZBTB20, a new BTB/POZ-domain gene, could negatively regulate α feto-protein and other liver-specific genes, concerning such as bio-transformation, glucose metabolism and the regulation of the somatotropic hormonal axis. The aim of this study is to determine the potential clinical implications of ZBTB20 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Quantitative real-time RT-PCR and Western blot analyses were used to detect expression levels of ZBTB20 in 50 paired HCC tumorous and nontumorous tissues and in 20 normal liver tissues. Moreover, expression of ZBTB20 was assessed by immunohistochemistry of paired tumor and peritumoral liver tissue from 102 patients who had undergone hepatectomy for histologically proven HCC. And its relationship with clinicopathological parameters and prognosis was investigated.
Both messenger RNA and protein expression levels of ZBTB20 were elevated significantly in HCC tissues compared with the paired non-tumor tissues and normal liver tissues. Overexpressed ZBTB20 protein in HCC was significantly associated with vein invasion (P = 0.016). Importantly, the recurrence or metastasis rates of HCCs with higher ZBTB20 expression were markedly greater than those of HCCs with lower expression (P = 0.003, P = 0.00015, respectively). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that ZBTB20 overexpression was an independent prognostic factor for HCC. The disease-free survival period and over-all survival period in patients with overexpressed ZBTB20 in HCC was significantly reduced.
The expression of ZBTB20 is increased in HCC and associated with poor prognosis in patients with HCC, implicating ZBTB20 as a candidate prognostic marker in HCC.
SIRT1 plays crucial roles in glucose and lipid metabolism, and has various functions in different tissues including brain. The brain-specific SIRT1 knockout mice display defects in somatotropic signaling, memory and synaptic plasticity. And the female mice without SIRT1 in POMC neuron are more sensitive to diet-induced obesity. Here we created transgenic mice overexpressing SIRT1 in striatum and hippocampus under the control of CaMKIIα promoter. These mice, especially females, exhibited increased fat accumulation accompanied by significant upregulation of adipogenic genes in white adipose tissue. Glucose tolerance of the mice was also impaired with decreased Glut4 mRNA levels in muscle. Moreover, the SIRT1 overexpressing mice showed decreased energy expenditure, and concomitantly mitochondria-related genes were decreased in muscle. In addition, these mice showed unusual spontaneous physical activity pattern, decreased activity in open field and rotarod performance. Further studies demonstrated that SIRT1 deacetylated IRS-2, and upregulated phosphorylation level of IRS-2 and ERK1/2 in striatum. Meanwhile, the neurotransmitter signaling in striatum and the expression of endocrine hormones in hypothalamus and serum T3, T4 levels were altered. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that SIRT1 in forebrain regulates lipid/glucose metabolism and motor function.
The vertebrate pituitary gland is a key endocrine control organ that contains six distinct hormone secreting cell types. In this study, we analyzed the role of direct cell-to-cell Delta-Notch signaling in zebrafish anterior pituitary cell type specification. We demonstrate that initial formation of the anterior pituitary placode is independent of Notch signaling. Later however, loss of Notch signaling in mind bomb (mib) mutant embryos or by DAPT treatment leads to increased numbers of lactotropes and loss of corticotropes in the anterior pars distalis (APD), increased number of thyrotropes and loss of somatotrope cell types in the posterior pars distalis (PPD), and fewer melanotropes in the posterior region of the adenohypophysis, the pars intermedia (PI). Conversely, Notch gain of function leads to the opposite result, loss of lactotrope and thyrotrope cell specification, and an increased number of corticotropes, melanotropes, and gonadotropes in the pituitary. Our results suggest that Notch acts on placodal cells, presumably as a permissive signal, to regulate progenitor cell specification to hormone secreting cell types. We propose that Notch mediated lateral inhibition regulates the relative numbers of specified hormone cell types in the three pituitary subdomains.
adenohypophysis; cell differentiation; cranial; DAPT; Delta; hormone; Notch; organogenesis; patterning; placode
Growth hormone (GH) exerts diverse tissue-specific metabolic effects that are not revealed by global alteration of GH action. To study the direct metabolic effects of GH in the muscle, we specifically inactivated the growth hormone receptor (ghr) gene in postnatal mouse skeletal muscle using the Cre/loxP system (mGHRKO model). The metabolic state of the mGHRKO mice was characterized under lean and obese states. High-fat diet feeding in the mGHRKO mice was associated with reduced adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, lower systemic inflammation, decreased muscle and hepatic triglyceride content, and greater energy expenditure compared with control mice. The obese mGHRKO mice also had an increased respiratory exchange ratio, suggesting increased carbohydrate utilization. GH-regulated suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (socs2) expression was decreased in obese mGHRKO mice. Interestingly, muscles of both lean and obese mGHRKO mice demonstrated a higher interleukin-15 and lower myostatin expression relative to controls, indicating a possible mechanism whereby GHR signaling in muscle could affect liver and adipose tissue function. Thus, our study implicates skeletal muscle GHR signaling in mediating insulin resistance in obesity and, more importantly, reveals a novel role of muscle GHR signaling in facilitating cross-talk between muscle and other metabolic tissues.
The pituitary gland plays a prominent role in the control of many physiological processes. This control is achieved through the actions and interactions of hormones and growth factors that are produced and secreted by the endocrine cell types and the non-endocrine constituents that collectively and functionally define this complex organ. The five endocrine cell types of the anterior lobe of the pituitary, somatotropes, lactotropes, corticotropes, thyrotropes and gonadotropes, are defined by their primary product, growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)/luteinizing hormone (LH). They are further distinguishable by the presence of cell surface receptors that display high affinity and selectivity for specific hypothalamic hormones and couple to appropriate downstream signaling pathways involved in the control of cell type specific responses, including the release and/or synthesis of pituitary hormones. Central control of the pituitary via the hypothalamus is further fine-tuned by the positive or negative actions of peripheral feedback signals and of a variety of factors that originate from sources within the pituitary. The focus of this review is the latter category of intrinsic factors that exert local control. Special emphasis is given to the TGF-β family of growth factors, in particular activin effects on the gonadotrope population, because a considerable body of evidence supports their contribution to the local modulation of the embryonic and postnatal pituitary as well as pituitary pathogenesis. A number of other substances, including members of the cytokine and FGF families, VEGF, IGF1, PACAP, Ghrelin, adenosine and nitric oxide have also been shown or implicated to function as autocrine/paracrine factors, though, definitive proof remains lacking in some cases. The ever-growing list of putative autocrine/paracrine factors of the pituitary nevertheless has highlighted the complexity of the local network and its impact on pituitary functions.
We report a transgenic line with highly penetrant cre recombinase activity in the somatotrope cells of the anterior pituitary gland. Expression of the cre transgene is under the control of the locus control region of the human growth hormone gene cluster and the rat growth hormone promoter. Cre recombinase activity was assessed with two different lacZ reporter genes that require excision of a floxed stop sequence for expression: a chick β-actin promoter with the CMV enhancer transgene and a ROSA26 knock-in. Cre activity is detectable in the developing pituitary after initiation of Gh transcription and persists through adulthood with high penetrance in Gh expressing cells and lower penetrance in lactotropes, a cell type that shares a common origin with somatotropes. This Gh-cre transgenic line is suitable for efficient, cell-specific deletion of floxed regions of genomic DNA in differentiated somatotropes and a subset of lactotrope cells of the anterior pituitary gland.
anterior pituitary gland; cell specific expression; transgene; growth hormone; prolactin
Contributions of somatotropic hormonal activity to memory functions in humans, which are suggested by clinical observations, have not been systematically examined. With previous experiments precluding a direct effect of systemic growth hormone (GH) on acute memory formation, we assessed the role of central nervous somatotropic signaling in declarative memory consolidation. We examined the effect of intranasally administered growth hormone releasing-hormone (GHRH; 600 µg) that has direct access to the brain and suppresses endogenous GHRH via an ultra-short negative feedback loop. Twelve healthy young men learned word-pair associates at 2030 h and were administered GHRH and placebo, respectively, at 2100 h. Retrieval was tested after 11 hours of wakefulness. Compared to placebo, intranasal GHRH blunted GH release within 3 hours after substance administration and reduced the number of correctly recalled word-pairs by ∼12% (both P<0.05). The impairment of declarative memory consolidation was directly correlated to diminished GH concentrations (P<0.05). Procedural memory consolidation as examined by the parallel assessment of finger sequence tapping performance was not affected by GHRH administration. Our findings indicate that intranasal GHRH, by counteracting endogenous GHRH release, impairs hippocampal memory processing. They provide first evidence for a critical contribution of central nervous somatotropic activity to hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation.
The obesity epidemic imposes a significant health burden on human beings. Current understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of obesity is incomplete and contemporary treatment is often ineffective. Gastrointestinal hormones are important regulators of food intake and energy metabolism. Previous studies indicate that the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway in the gastric mucosa is crucially involved in fuel sensing in the gastrointestinal tract and plays a critical role in the coordination of nutrient availability and ingestive behavior via the production of gastric hormones. As an important component of the brain-gut axis regulating food intake and energy homeostasis, energy sensing in the gastrointestinal tract may provide a novel insight into our understanding of the precise coordination between the organism and cellular energy state.
Gastric mammalian target of rapamycin; Hormones; Energy metabolism
The central role of metabolic perturbation to the pathology of malaria, the promise of antimetabolites as antimalarial drugs and a basic scientific interest in understanding this fascinating example of highly divergent microbial metabolism has spurred a major and concerted research effort towards elucidating the metabolic network of the Plasmodium parasites. Central carbon metabolism, broadly comprising the flow of carbon from nutrients into biomass, has been a particular focus due to clear and early indications that it plays an essential role in this network. Decades of painstaking efforts have significantly clarified our understanding of these pathways of carbon flux, and this foundational knowledge, coupled with the advent of advanced analytical technologies, have set the stage for the development of a holistic, network-level model of plasmodial carbon metabolism. In this review we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding central carbon metabolism and suggest future avenues of research. We focus primarily on the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal of the human malaria parasites, but also integrate results from simian, avian and rodent models of malaria that were a major focus of early investigations into plasmodial metabolism.
Plasmodium; malaria; central carbon metabolism; metabolic network; metabolomics
As chronic inflammation is a hallmark of obesity, pathways that integrate nutrient and pathogen sensing pathways are of great interest in understanding the mechanisms of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic metabolic pathologies. Here, we provide evidence that double-stranded RNA dependent protein kinase (PKR) can respond to nutrient signals as well as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and coordinate the activity of other critical inflammatory kinases such as the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) to regulate insulin action and metabolism. PKR also directly targets and modifies insulin receptor substrate and hence integrates nutrients and insulin action with a defined pathogen response system. Dietary and genetic obesity features marked activation of PKR in adipose and liver tissues and absence of PKR alleviates metabolic deterioration due to nutrient or energy excess in mice. These findings demonstrate PKR as a critical component of an inflammatory complex that responds to nutrients and organelle dysfunction.
Although studies of Ames and Snell dwarf mice have suggested possible important roles of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis in aging and age-related diseases, the results cannot rule out the possibility of other hormonal changes playing an important role in the life extension exhibited by these dwarf mice. Therefore, growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR/BP) knockout (KO) mice would be valuable animals to directly assess the roles of somatotropic axis in aging and age-related diseases because the primary hormonal change is due to GH/IGF-1 deficiency. Our pathological findings showed GHR/BP KO mice to have a lower incidence and delayed occurrence of fatal neoplastic lesions compared with their wild-type littermates. These changes of fatal neoplasms are similar to the effects observed with calorie restriction and therefore could possibly be a major contributing factor to the extended life span observed in the GHR/BP KO mice.
Growth hormone receptor/binding protein; Knockout mouse; Neoplastic disease; Aging
TGF-β has been known to play an important role in various liver diseases including fibrosis and alcohol-induced fatty liver. Smad7 is an intracellular negative regulator of TGF-β signaling. It is currently unclear whether endogenous Smad7 has an effect on liver function and alcoholic liver damage.
We used Cre/loxP system by crossing Alb-Cre mice with Smad7loxP/loxP mice to generate liver-specific deletion of Smad7 with loss of the indispensable MH2 domain. Alcoholic liver injury was achieved by feeding mice with a liquid diet containing 5% ethanol for 6 weeks, followed by a single dose of ethanol gavage. Deletion of Smad7 in the liver was associated with increased Smad2/3 phosphorylation in the liver or upon TGF-β treatment in primary hepatocytes. The majority of mice with liver specific deletion of Smad7 (Smad7liver-KO) were viable and phenotypically normal, accompanied by only slight or no reduction of Smad7 expression in the liver. However, about 30% of Smad7liver-KO mice with high efficiency of Smad7 deletion had spontaneous liver dysfunction, demonstrated as low body weight, overall deterioration, and increased serum levels of AST and ALT. Degeneration and elevated apoptosis of liver cells were observed with these mice. TGF-β-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) was accelerated in Smad7-deleted primary hepatocytes. In addition, alcohol-induced liver injury and steatosis were profoundly aggravated in Smad7 deficient mice, associated with upregulation of critical genes involved in lipogenesis and inflammation. Furthermore, alcohol-induced ADH1 expression was significantly abrogated by Smad7 deletion in hepatocytes.
In this study, we provided in vivo evidence revealing that endogenous Smad7 plays an important role in liver function and alcohol-induced liver injury.
Nutrient excess in obesity and diabetes is emerging as a common putative cause for multiple deleterious effects across diverse cell types, responsible for a variety of metabolic dysfunctions. The hypothalamus is acknowledged as an important regulator of whole body energy homeostasis, through both detection of nutrient availability and coordination of effectors that determine nutrient intake and utilization, thus preventing cellular and whole body nutrient excess. However, the mechanisms underlying hypothalamic nutrient detection and its impact on peripheral nutrient utilization remain poorly understood. Recent data suggest a role for thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) as a molecular nutrient sensor important in the regulation of energy metabolism, but the role of hypothalamic TXNIP in the regulation of energy balance has not been evaluated. Here we show in mice that thioredoxin interacting protein is expressed in nutrient sensing neurons of the mediobasal hypothalamus, responds to hormonal and nutrient signals, and regulates adipose tissue metabolism, fuel partitioning and glucose homeostasis. Hypothalamic expression of thioredoxin-interacting protein is induced by acute nutrient excess and in mouse models of obesity and diabetes, and downregulation of mediobasal hypothalamic thioredoxin-interacting protein expression prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Thus, mediobasal hypothalamic thioredoxin-interacting protein plays a critical role in nutrient sensing and the regulation of fuel utilization.
The gastrointestinal tract is emerging as a key regulator of appetite and metabolism, but daunting neuroanatomical complexity has hampered identification of the relevant signals. Invertebrate models could provide a simple and genetically amenable alternative, but their autonomic nervous system and its visceral functions remain largely unexplored. Here we develop a quantitative method based on defecation behavior to uncover a central role for the Drosophila intestine in the regulation of nutrient intake, fluid, and ion balance. We then identify a key homeostatic role for autonomic neurons and hormones, including a brain-gut circuit of insulin-producing neurons modulating appetite, a vasopressin-like system essential for fluid homeostasis, and enteric neurons mediating sex peptide-induced changes in intestinal physiology. These conserved mechanisms of visceral control, analogous to those found in the enteric nervous system and hypothalamic/pituitary axis, enable the study of autonomic control in a model organism that has proved instrumental in understanding sensory and motor systems.
► A metabolic behavior revealing a key homeostatic role for the invertebrate intestine ► Enteric neurons couple reproductive state with intestinal physiology ► An insulinergic brain-gut neuronal circuit adjusts feeding to nutritional conditions ► A vasopressin-like system of central neurons is essential for water homeostasis
Obesity is associated with intrahepatic inflammation that promotes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated factor (TRAF)2 is a key adaptor molecule that is known to mediate proinflammatory cytokine signaling in immune cells; however, its metabolic function remains unclear. We examined the role of hepatic TRAF2 in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. TRAF2 was deleted specifically in hepatocytes using the Cre/loxP system. The mutant mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) to induce insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Hepatic glucose production (HGP) was examined using pyruvate tolerance tests, 2H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and in vitro HGP assays. The expression of gluconeogenic genes was measured by quantitative real-time PCR. Insulin sensitivity was analyzed using insulin tolerance tests and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of insulin receptors and Akt. Glucagon action was examined using glucagon tolerance tests and glucagon-stimulated HGP, cAMP-responsive element–binding (CREB) phosphorylation, and expression of gluconeogenic genes in the liver and primary hepatocytes. Hepatocyte-specific TRAF2 knockout (HKO) mice exhibited normal body weight, blood glucose levels, and insulin sensitivity. Under HFD conditions, blood glucose levels were significantly lower (by >30%) in HKO than in control mice. Both insulin signaling and the hypoglycemic response to insulin were similar between HKO and control mice. In contrast, glucagon signaling and the hyperglycemic response to glucagon were severely impaired in HKO mice. In addition, TRAF2 overexpression significantly increased the ability of glucagon or a cAMP analog to stimulate CREB phosphorylation, gluconeogenic gene expression, and HGP in primary hepatocytes. These results suggest that the hepatic TRAF2 cell autonomously promotes hepatic gluconeogenesis by enhancing the hyperglycemic response to glucagon and other factors that increase cAMP levels, thus contributing to hyperglycemia in obesity.
AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a key role in the regulatory network responsible for maintaining systemic energy homeostasis during exercise or nutrient deprivation. To understand the function of the regulatory β2 subunit of AMPK in systemic energy metabolism, we characterized β2 subunit-deficient mice. Using these mutant mice, we demonstrated that the β2 subunit plays an important role in regulating glucose, glycogen, and lipid metabolism during metabolic stress. The β2 mutant animals failed to maintain euglycemia and muscle ATP levels during fasting. In addition, β2-deficient animals showed classic symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance when maintained on a high-fat diet (HFD), and were unable to maintain muscle ATP levels during exercise. Cell surface-associated glucose transporter levels were reduced in skeletal muscle from β2 mutant animals on an HFD. In addition, they displayed poor exercise performance and impaired muscle glycogen metabolism. These mutant mice had decreased activation of AMPK and deficits in PGC1α-mediated transcription in skeletal muscle. Our results highlight specific roles of AMPK complexes containing the β2 subunit and suggest the potential utility of AMPK isoform-specific pharmacological modulators for treatment of metabolic, cardiac, and neurological disorders.
The use of glucocorticoids (corticotherapy) in severe sepsis is one of the main controversial issues in critical care medicine. These agents were commonly used to treat sepsis until the end of the 1980s, when several randomized trials casted serious doubt on any benefit from high-dose glucocorticoids. Later, important progress in our understanding of the role played by the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in the response to sepsis, and of the mechanisms of action of glucocorticoids led us to reconsider their use in septic shock. The present review summarizes the basics of the physiological response of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis to stress, including regulation of glucocorticoid synthesis, the cellular mechanisms of action of glucocorticoids, and how they influence metabolism, cardiovascular homeostasis and the immune system. The concepts of adrenal insufficiency and peripheral glucocorticoid resistance are developed, and the main experimental and clinical data that support the use of low-dose glucocorticoids in septic shock are discussed. Finally, we propose a decision tree for diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency and institution of cortisol replacement therapy.
adrenal insufficiency; glucorticoids; hormone replacement therapy; hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis; sepsis
Regulation of metabolic enzymes plays a crucial role in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis, and in the capacity of living systems to undergo physiological adaptation under multiple environmental conditions. Metabolic regulation is achieved through a complex interplay of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms, some of which have been experimentally characterized for specific pathways and organisms. Many of the details, however, including the values of most kinetic parameters, have proven difficult to elucidate. Hence, understanding the principles that underlie metabolic regulation strategies constitutes an ongoing challenge. In the context of genome-scale steady state models of metabolic networks, it has been shown that evolution may drive metabolic networks towards reaching computationally predictable optimal states, such as maximal growth capacity. Here we develop a new computational approach based on the hypothesis that the regulatory systems operating on metabolic networks have evolved towards an optimal architecture as well. Specifically, we hypothesize that the topology of metabolic regulation networks has been selected for optimally maintaining the system balanced around one or more steady states. Based on these hypotheses, we use methods related to flux balance analysis to construct a model of metabolic regulation based primarily on a metabolic network’s topology, bypassing the requirement for the details of all kinetic parameters. This model predicts an optimal regulatory network of metabolic interactions that can resolve perturbations to a given steady state in a metabolic system. We explore the ability of the model to predict optimal regulatory responses in both a simple toy network and in a fragment of the well-described glycolysis pathway.
metabolic regulation; flux balance analysis; enzyme kinetics; metabolism; optimality; logistic map; chaos